You Actually Have Way More Time Off Than You Think
How to travel more and keep your leave.
104 weekend days + 12 public holidays = 116 days of no work each year. Just let that sink in for a while.
For the mathematicians out there, that means for 33% of our working lives, we’re actually on holiday. If that’s not enough of a slap across the face, this figure doesn’t even include your entitled annual leave, evenings during the working week (perfect for 5-9 adventures) or unpaid holiday, but we’ll come to those later.
It’s quite a startling fact to swallow isn’t it? It’s up to us, though, to recognise this gaping holiday hole in our lives and fill it with as much experience as humanly possible. Once we do this, the possibilities suddenly become endless. It’s also been scientifically proven that having a holiday scribbled into your calendar makes you a happier human, so in order to spend your days chirpier than a seagull with a french fry, surely we all need to season our calendars with bucket loads of mini-holidays rather just one big overseas trip?
So what are some of the best ways to maximise your time off? Here are four golden tips.
#1 Leverage your public holidays and weekends
These are gifted to us every single week and on the odd occasion the government kindly tacks on an extra day or two for us. Mini-holidays (like mini-retirements proposed by Tim Ferriss in the 4-hour working week) are recurring escapes throughout the year that spread the fun out rather than concentrate it all into one big, bank-balance-hemorrhaging overseas trip.
During public holidays, hoards of other informed people (like yourself!) will also be escaping the city, so play it smart and avoid peak hour traffic if you’re road tripping or even flying somewhere. Perhaps negotiate leaving the office a couple of hours early by being first in best dressed for the few days leading up to the trip? Flights and accommodation (including campsites) get booked early so plan ahead to avoid disappointment.
Travel doesn’t necessarily mean cross-planet expeditions with a 50 kilo badge-riddled backpack strapped to your shoulders. Short term trips – or microadventures – are far more cost effective options that compresses this spirit of a big adventure into an epic weekend away without having to take a nano-second of your actual holiday.
#2 Five to nine adventures
On an average school night we have between 5pm to 9am of pure, unadulterated freedom. In other words, that’s 16 hours of adventurous opportunity that most of us neglect for an episode of dodgy, brain-melting television.
A tiny mid-week adventure is the perfect way to utilise this forgotten time and give yourself a nature reboot. You can go for an evening beach dip in summer or head away from the city lights to stargaze for the evening in winter. You can even sneak in an overnight mid-week trip. All you need to do is pick a campsite within two hours of your workplace (they’re normally emptier mid-week anyway), invite some equally foolhardy friends and take a bus or train to your wild pocket of paradise. You’ll probably smell a bit when you roll into work the next day, but my god, you’ll definitely have a more exciting story to tell about your night than your colleagues.
#3 Work remotely
In an age where being a digital nomad is increasingly seen as a positive step towards productivity and happiness for employees and employers alike, there’s actually never been a better time to propose this notion to your boss. Remember though: working remotely should not be seen as a day off! Far from it, in fact. The trick, of course, is to prove that your output is as great (if not greater) than when you’re working in the office. If you can nail this, you’ll be putting together a strong case to your boss for a whole lot more remote working days.
Here’s an example – fancy an escape to the jungle but don’t want to take any time off? Fly to Cairns on Thursday night after work, spend a night there and drive up to Cape Tribulation first thing on Friday morning. You’ll be swinging in a hammock with a laptop open by 9 and working as productively as you would in the city, only you’ll be surrounded by nature. When you ‘clock off’ in the afternoon, you’re immediately ready to embrace the weekend and make the most of your tropical paradise. What a dream.
#4 Schedule an adventure weekend every month
The best way to actually fill your life with adventure is to plan ahead and get excited. So we’ve got a challenge for you…
Step one: go and buy the most ludicrously sized map of your state or country and take over a wall in your house. (You may also need to purchase the biggest pack of blu-tak you can lay your hands on too).
Step two: Stare at it.
Step three: Stare at it and let that fuzzy feeling of adventurous possibility take over.
Step four: Stare at it for a bit longer.
Step five: Pick up the phone and call all your favourite people and tell them you’ve got a plan that’s as hot as your pants.
By setting aside one weekend every month for something out of the ordinary, you’ll be setting yourself up for a bunch of new experiences that’ll challenge you in some way. Take it in turns each month for one of you to plan it and do your absolute best to stick to one a month with no excuses. We promise that you’ll reflect on what was an incredible 12 months of adventuring when you finish.
(All photos: Henry Brydon)